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How to keep our restaurant brands running in these un-CERTAIN times!

How to keep our restaurant brands running in these un-CERTAIN times!

Sunday May 31, 2020,

5 min Read

Disclaimer: This post advocates tough decisions ensuring our brands not only survive the current scare but thrive and emerge fitter for the future market. I don’t intend to discredit or debase any person or service in the post. I am also not promoting anything here just sharing my quick thoughts.

Below is a set of steps, some reactive others proactive, that I’m following towards maintaining our restaurant business health.

Step 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 are Zero Investment Steps.

Steps 6, 7, 8 are steps involving little investment.

Step 9, 10 are advised to be able to drive the above 8 steps happily.

1. Become frugal: Spending even Rs 100 should cross your mind 100 times to prove to you that it’s actually necessary.

2. Revenue Sharing: Get your landlord and staff enter into a revenue-sharing model to put a check on the largest section of fixed cost. Although we can (and we should) give them a minimum guarantee (rent/salary) to keep this model viable for the longest period of time. This is a win-win situation, especially in the current scenario.

3. Resource Pairing: Getting into a “shop-in-shop” model has always been a wise thing to do but now it’s more than necessary. Look for the complementary brand(s) and try to associate into a resource-pairing model wherein you give space and staff services to another brand(s) to run their operations at your store. The other brand can run either online or offline or both depending upon your brand’s operational comfort.

4. Marketing: Figure out what’s necessary and what’s not. It’s time to cut down on the agency’s work and instead try and figure out social media posts by yourself. There are multiple websites online (eg: canva, crello, adobe, wave, pixteller etc) that can help you make engaging content — maybe not as good as your agency work — but not too bad either. Moreover, it’s all free — free — free! Utilize your free time to save some marketing fees for your brand. Saving is as good as earning! Design interesting campaigns to engage your customers and grow your customer base by all possible means. [Solicit campaign ideas — Please share some of your ideas in the comment box]

Social media marketing will not only keep your brand name alive in people’s minds but also give you an opportunity to reap profits from it when the normalcy back.

5. Menu Card Adjustments: Since presenting a menu booklet to your customers is a passe, it’s time to use some creativity. One can take the help of QR code links to your website/Zomato page where the menu is posted. One can even use an inexpensive display board to put up the menu. [ Please share your creative idea around handling this issue in the comment box ]

This is also a good time to focus and sell only your best products online to make sure your ratings are not compromised easily and your brand is preferred in all sorts of platforms’ algorithms.

6. Hygiene — Hygiene — Hygiene: Invest in Hygiene UP-GRADATION as per the WHO guidelines. It’s certainly going to act as the chief attraction of any restaurant in the coming days. For offline open or visible kitchens might get perceived as cleaner setups and get preferred by customers. The online food aggregators have already started categorizing and on-boarding / deboarding restaurants based on their hygiene standards. So, being one of the most hygienic outlets also makes sense to your top-line.

7. Product Addition: Try adding a few products in your menu schemes that are perceived as “safer to consume” by its virtue of packaging, human handling, and food genre. These will help us drive more views to our original menu as well.

8. Cloud Kitchen backup: Keeping in mind the current trend of increased online orders wrt to in-store orders, one can utilize this situation to temporarily shift to a cloud kitchen model and stay operational for the online customers in their particular area. This obviously will make the survival lot more possible — financially as you will operate in lesser sq ft and with lesser staff force.

A cloud kitchen model also gives us more ease in keeping our operations open for late-night orders and this has great potential in days to come!

9. Mental Health: One can easily get bogged down by so many things (or nothing) happening and may start to feel that all their efforts are not converting into rewards, but that is not how we should be thinking because nothing goes in vain. We learn and improve as individuals, to say the least. It’s important to follow a small set of golden rules to guide your mind to wade through all the clutter. These golden rules at work should be the ones that have never failed you.

These could be of the likes of:

  1. Don’t worry about the things and issues that aren’t in your hands.
  2. Every problem is an opportunity!
  3. Easy is scary.
  4. Progress is mandatory, perfection is not.
  5. Better an oops than what if …

These are all up to an individual’s firm believes and their own ways to cater happiness to themselves…because in the end, if you observe all these principles, they all lead to content and happiness!

10. Exercise: It’s important to give your mind a healthy body to stay in. Exercising or playing sports adds a lot of character to an individual that helps them in decision making at work and in life in general. All the other benefits of exercising can be treated as a bonus for now. Let’s save this topic for the next article :)

If you want to add more thoughts or discuss the ones mentioned above, please feel free to use the comment box. I am always up for learning from others’ experiences. Have a good time!

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